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“Love Guru” still awaiting certification for exhibition in India

Special to Earthpages.org

Mike Myers (star of The Love Guru) by Alan Light

Mike Myers (star of The Love Guru) by Alan Light

Keenly protested Hollywood movie “The Love Guru”, released last June and bluntly failed world over, is still reportedly waiting for certification from India’s Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), where it was submitted on November 20 last.

According to reports, its fate is still hanging because of difference of opinion of CBFC film committee members. CBFC is responsible for certifying films suitable for public exhibition in India, where the main character of the movie Guru Pitka was shown to be raised in an ashram. Usually a movie receives certification in a week or two.

According to acclaimed Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, this movie appears to violate various CBFC “guidelines for certification”. He listed the apparently challenged CBFC guidelines in this movie as: “ such dual meaning words as obviously cater to baser instincts are not allowed”; “visuals or words contemptuous of racial, religious or other groups are not presented”; “human sensibilities are not offended by vulgarity, obscenity or depravity”.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, stresses that the Cinematograph Act lays down that a film has to be certified keeping “morality” in mind, besides other things. CBFC objectives of film certification are given as… “the medium of film remains responsible and sensitive to the values and standards of society”; “the medium of film provides clean and healthy entertainment”…

Rajan Zed, who spearheaded the protest movement against “The Love Guru” beginning in March 2008, argues that it is a pure and blatant ridiculing of Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion adherents and a rich philosophical thought. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at.

Hindus, who earlier called for its worldwide boycott, have also urged its co-producer and leading actor Mike Myers to withdraw “The Love Guru” movie from proposed exhibition in India out of respect for the upset Hindus.

Zed argued that withdrawing the movie from India would also save Mike Myers from further humiliation as the film suffered blunt failure at the box office and also received “worst picture”, “worst actor”, and “worst screenplay” awards at Golden Raspberries.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops declared “The Love Guru” “morally offensive” and slapped it with its highest rating “O”. “Preview Online”, which calls itself  “informative tool for Christian parents and moviegoers”, gave it Morality Rating of  –4 (Dangerous), which is lowest of five categories, highest being +4. “Christian Spotlight on Entertainment” gave it a Moral Rating of “Very Offensive”. Crosswalk, a Christ-centered corporation, wrote in the movie review, “…slew of seriously wince-inducing jabs at India’s culture (horrible, even when meant in fun)…” Dwight N. Hopkins, Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School, has said about the movie, “It exhibits the bodacious, repulsive, iconoclastic, sophomoric, insulting, stereotyping, and illogicality…”


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Deepak Chopra on “The Love Guru” issue

Deepak Chopra

Originally uploaded by Luiza

Deepak Chopra was interviewed on CBC Radio a little while ago about the controversial Paramount movie, The Love Guru, starring Mike Myers.

In that interview Chopra suggested that Hindus should not overreact to Myers’ brand of humor, which, he said, operates on the first and second chakra levels.

Chopra said that only a few “Hindu Fundamentalists” were offended, implying that the number of offended Hindus was relatively small compared to all Hindus.

And protesting the movie, Chopra claimed, will only make more people want to go and see it.

Chopra also said that he doesn’t get offended by things any more:

If your faith can be shaken by a joke then it’s another cover up for insecurity. I mean, come on, if you can’t take a joke that doesn’t say much about your faith.” » Q: The Podcast Monday June 23, 2008

Hindus offended by the film, however, have not given up on their worldwide campaign.

Here are some of the most recent headlines:


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Hindus want NHL to cut-off all alliances with “The Love Guru” movie

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Hindu groups have urged National Hockey League (NHL), headquartered in New York, to immediately cut-off all alliances with the Hollywood movie “The Love Guru”, stressing “it ridicules and denigrates Hindus and Hinduism”.

Advancing the cause spearheaded by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed; Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, in a communiqué to NHL Commissioner Gary Bruce Bettman, said, “All North Americans, including Hindus, are very proud of NHL and its heritage. Founded in 1917, NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the four North American sports leagues alongwith baseball, football and basketball. The Stanley Cup is the oldest professional sports trophy in North America. We do not want our NHL, which we hold in high esteem, to be in any way associated with ‘The Love Guru’, which lampoons Hinduism, its concepts, its traditions and its followers.”

“So, please detach NHL immediately from ‘The Love Guru’, including backing out of all strategic, marketing and other alliances; and issue a statement in this regard,” this communiqué stressed

Meanwhile, Rajan Zed, supported by some other organizations, has given a worldwide boycott call for this movie by Hindus and other religious people because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously. Zed, who launched campaign against this movie starting in March, urging other people of faith (besides Hindus) also to boycott the movie, said, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion/denomination.”

This is pure and blatant ridiculing and “The Love Guru” presenter Paramount Pictures and its parent Viacom should immediately issue a general public apology, Zed says and adds that Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at.

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has also called for boycott of “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…”

Meanwhile, signature campaign launched by Hindu groups against “The Love Guru” has crossed the 6,600 mark.

“The Love Guru” (88 minutes), a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame), opened June 20 in USA and Canada and will be released in different parts of the world in the near future. Viacom is a leading global entertainment content company and its family of brands includes MTV, Paramount, DreamWorks, etc. Paramount Pictures Corporation is a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.


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Hindu groups not happy with “The Love Guru” rating given by Singapore Censors

Special to Earthpages.org

Hindus do not seem to be pleased with Singapore Board of Film Censors classifying Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” with “NC16″ rating, and want it raised.

Advancing the protest movement launched by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed starting in March last; Bhavna Shinde, representing Hindu Janjagruti Samiti and Sanatan Sanstha, has appealed to Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA) to assign “The Love Guru” its highest “R21″ (Restricted 21) rating instead of currently held “NC 16″, saying ” ‘The Love Guru’ blatantly ridicules and denigrates Hinduism and Hindu concepts”.

In a communiqué to Singapore MDA, Shinde wrote, “Cinema is a powerful medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences, especially in the minds of younger audiences, who are passing through an impressionable phase. We do not want the next generation of Singapore growing up with a distorted view of Hinduism and Hindus.”

Hindus argue that the “The Passion of the Christ” movie was given a “M18″ rating (higher than what “The Love Guru” presently has) in Singapore in 2004 when the official classification media release said, “The film did not distort or denigrate Christianity.” On the other hand, “The Love Guru” blatantly ridicules Hinduism and Hindu concepts, so it deserves “R21″ rating.

In Singapore, “NC16″ rated films are suitable for 16 and above, while “R21″ films are suitable for aged 21 and above. “The Love Guru” is reportedly scheduled to be released in Singapore on September four.

Meanwhile, Rajan Zed, supported by some other organizations, has given a worldwide boycott call for this movie by Hindus and other religious people because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously. Zed, who is urging other people of faith (besides Hindus) also to boycott the movie, says, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion/denomination.”

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has also called for boycott of “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…”

Zed stresses that the broader aim of boycott against this movie is to protect the interests of various minorities and ethnicities and save them from future ridicule. Everyone is a minority in some place and in some sense and deserves to be respected. As fellow humans, is it not everybody’s duty to stand for the rights of minorities and speak for them when attempts are made at ridiculing them?

Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at, Zed says.

Meanwhile, signature campaign launched by Hindu groups against “The Love Guru” has crossed the 6,600 mark.

“The Love Guru” (88 minutes), a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame), opened June 20 in USA and Canada and will be released in different parts of the world in the near future.


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Demand of public apology by Paramount and Viacom gathering storm

             Hindu Leader Rajan Zed

Special to Earthpages.org

Calls for public apology by Paramount Pictures and its parent Viacom on issues surrounding “The Love Guru” movie, started by acclaimed Hindu leader Rajan Zed, are gathering strength.

Now Nevada Clergy Association (NCA); which is composed of Christian (various denominations), Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Bahai, Native American, etc., clergy; has joined others in asking for Paramount/Viacom apology.

In a statement issued in Nevada (USA) today, Right Reverend Gene Savoy Jr., NCA President, said, “We urge Paramount and Viacom to issue a general public apology over this issue, which will help heal the wounds of seemingly perturbed one-billion-strong Hindu community”.

Rev. Savoy, who is himself a well-respected Head Bishop of International Community of Christ, said in this statement, “We are dismayed at Paramount Pictures, presenter of this movie, for backtracking on their promise to protesting Hindu brothers-sisters, which we consider an unethical business practice. We are also appalled at Paramount and its parent Viacom for utter disregard of the protesters and making no efforts to have an open civilized dialogue with protesters and arrive at a mutually acceptable solution, who have been stressing that this movie denigrates Hinduism and Hindu concepts.”

He congratulated Rajan Zed “for his successful campaign” against the Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” and thanked him for “effectively creating this debate and awakening the future filmmakers to be more sensitive to the feelings of devotees when dealing with faith related issues”.

Rev. Savoy further said, “We at NCA are for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at debasing it hurt the adherents. Hollywood should be more conscious while handling faith related subjects, as cinema is a very mighty medium and it can create stereotypes in the minds of some audiences. We are concerned that today it is Hinduism; tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to mock another denomination/religion, which can be very painful to the faithful.”

Sometime back, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu religious leaders, in a joint signed statement, described Paramount’s backtracking on their promise to protesting Hindus as “un-Christian, un-Hindu, un-Buddhist, un-Jewish, etc., besides being unethical.”

Meanwhile, various other organizations, including Universal Society of Hinduism, Hindu Janajagruti Samiti, Hindu Alliance of India, Shri Ramayan Pracharini Sabha, Sanatan Sanstha, India Heritage Panel, have also demanded public apology from Paramount and Viacom.

Rajan Zed launched the protest movement against “The Love Guru” in March, saying that it appeared to be lampooning Hinduism and Hindus and using Hindu terms frivolously.


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Catholics declare “The Love Guru” “morally offensive” with their highest classification

Hindu Leader Rajan Zed

Special to Earthpages.org

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu leader, has lauded the remarkable interfaith gesture of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) by giving Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” its highest rating “O” (morally offensive).

USCCB, headquartered in Washington DC, is an assembly of the hierarchy of the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands who jointly exercise certain pastoral functions on behalf of the Christian faithful of the United States. Its Office for Film and Broadcasting (OFB) in New York is responsible for reviewing and rating theatrical motion pictures.

Harry Forbes, Director of OFB, in his review of “The Love Guru”, said “…Unabashedly vulgar and tasteless, the film, which wallows in endless penis jokes and fairly yucky potty humor…”. “O” is the highest of the five classifications granted by USCCB.

We are thankful to the Conference of Catholic Bishops for having a feel for the pain of the Hindu and spiritual community by categorizing “The Love Guru” as “morally offensive”, Zed stated.

Meanwhile, Rajan Zed has given a worldwide boycott call for “The Love Guru” by Hindus and other religious people because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously.

Zed, who launched campaign against this movie starting in March, urging other people of faith (besides Hindus) also to boycott the movie, said, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion/denomination.”

The antics of Guru Pitka of “The Love Guru” are a mockery of the esteemed institution of guru, who is a highly revered spiritual teacher/master/preceptor in Hinduism and who helps remove the ignorance of the seeker and who leads one from darkness to light.

On the other hand, guru in “The Love Guru” instigates a bar fight, repeatedly narrates penis jokes, mocks yoga (one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy), wears female jewelry, mocks the concept of third eye, makes disciples drink tea passed through his nose, orders alligator soup, induces elephant copulation in front of the crowd, introduces himself as “His Holiness”, lives in a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad maids, and whose goal in life seems to appear on Oprah Winfrey show, Zed said.

When did Hindu gurus become available “for hire”? When and who started rating them? When did shishyas (disciples) started joining ashram for the sole purpose to make girls like them? Which Hindu ashram organizes fights of disciples with mops soaked in guru’s urine? Which guru urinates in the midst of disciples? Rajan Zed asked.

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada (USA), has already called for boycott of “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…”

Meanwhile, signature campaign launched by Hindu groups against “The Love Guru” has crossed the 6,400 mark.

“The Love Guru” (88 minutes), a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame), opened Friday in USA and Canada and will be released in different parts of the world in the near future.


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After watching, Hindu leader calls for worldwide boycott of “The Love Guru” by Hindus and other religious people

Hindu Leader Rajan Zed

Special to Earthpages.org

Rajan Zed, prominent Hindu leader, has given a worldwide boycott call for Hollywood movie “The Love Guru” by Hindus and other religious people because it lampoons Hinduism and Hindu concepts and uses Hindu terms frivolously.

After seeing the film, which was released in USA and Canada today, Zed said that “The Love Guru” was even much more denigrating than they earlier perceived from the information gathered from trailers, website and other sources. Urging other people of faith (besides Hindus) also to boycott the movie, Zed said, “Today it is Hinduism, tomorrow Hollywood might attempt to denigrate another religion/denomination.”

The antics of Guru Pitka of “The Love Guru” are a mockery of the esteemed institution of guru, who is a highly revered spiritual teacher/master/preceptor in Hinduism and who helps remove the ignorance of the seeker and who leads one from darkness to light. The guru-sishya (teacher-disciple) relationship lies at the heart of traditional Hinduism. Guru is often allied with the divine. Guru bestows spiritual knowledge totally free from selfish objectives, Zed stressed.

On the other hand, guru in “The Love Guru” instigates a bar fight, repeatedly narrates penis jokes, mocks yoga (one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy), wears female jewelry, mocks the concept of third eye, makes disciples drink tea passed through his nose, orders alligator soup, induces elephant copulation in front of the crowd, introduces himself as “His Holiness”, lives in a lavish ashram staffed with scantily clad maids, and whose goal in life seems to appear on Oprah Winfrey show, Zed said.

When did Hindu gurus become available “for hire”? When and who started rating them? When did shishyas (disciples) started joining ashram for the sole purpose to make girls like them? Which Hindu ashram organizes fights of disciples with mops soaked in guru’s urine? Which guru urinates in the midst of disciples? Rajan Zed asked.

This is pure and blatant ridiculing and Paramount and its parent Viacom should immediately issue a general public apology for denigration of Hinduism and Hindu concepts, utter disregard of the protesters, backtracking on promise to pre-screen the movie for Rajan Zed and other Hindu leaders, making no efforts to have an open civilized dialogue with protesters to arrive at an mutually acceptable solution, Zed said.

A prominent Jewish Rabbi, Elizabeth W. Beyer of Nevada, has already called for boycott of “The Love Guru” because it “…lampoons Hinduism, mocks Ashram life and Hindu philosophy…”

Hindus are for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. But faith is something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Filmmakers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as cinema is a very powerful medium, Zed argued.

Of course a small movie, which will be forgotten in few months, would not destroy the great tradition of Hinduism which has been around longer than any other established religion and has faced lot of onslaughts and came out stronger. But Hinduism is often misunderstood and wrongly portrayed outside India. Movies like this bring more confusion and create stereotypes in the minds of audience, many of whom may not have had any other exposure to its tenets, Zed stressed.

Humor is a part and parcel of Hindu society and our folk festivals, plays, stories, etc., are full of parody, satire, mimicry, buffoonery, etc. We are strong enough to take jokes. But there are certain convictions in every tradition, which are venerable and not meant to be mocked at, Zed argued.

People associated with the film claim that it has nothing to do with Hinduism and portrays “completely made up system of teachings”. But terms such as guru, ashram, yoga, karma, etc., –all clearly point to Hinduism. Some people who have vested interest in the movie are unsuccessfully trying to defend this apparent mockery and in the process creating more confusion, Zed said.

The broader aim of worldwide boycott against this movie is to protect the interests of various minorities and ethnicities of the world and save them from future ridicule. Everyone is a minority in some place and in some sense in this world and deserves to be respected. As fellow humans, is it not everybody’s duty to stand for the rights of minorities and speak for them when attempts are made at ridiculing them? Somebody has to make sacrifices so that others can live honorably, Rajan Zed stressed.

He said that what would have been a small public relations exercise blew out of proportion because of stubbornness of Paramount or incompetence of their public relations team or something else in their minds that we do not know. Backtracking on the promise of pre-screening for Hindu leaders by Paramount was described by the diverse clergy as “un-Christian, un-Hindu, un-Buddhist, un-Jewish, etc., besides being unethical.”

Our doors are still open for Paramount/Viacom for dialogue, Zed said.

Rajan Zed further said that comedy should make everybody smile and should not come at the expense of ridiculing others’ faith and spreading misinformation. Hinduism is the oldest and third largest religion of the world with about one billion followers and a rich philosophical thought and it should not be taken lightly. No faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at.

“The Love Guru” (88 minutes), a comedy starring Mike Myers (of Austin Powers fame), opened today nationwide and will be released in different parts of the world in the near future. Viacom’s family of brands includes MTV, Paramount, DreamWorks, etc. Paramount Pictures Corporation is a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment.

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